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Mother’s Day: Finding the perfect gift

May 10, 2012

Carol McLaughlin, Research Director

Gift giving can be tricky. Do I give her something she needs? Or something she wants, but won’t—or can’t—ask for?

At a recent TEDxChange event, Melinda Gates made the “uncontroversial” statement that all parents want what’s best for their children. What mothers around the world want is exactly what we all need to prosper: safe, healthy environments where mothers and their children have the opportunity to reach their full potential. So this Mother’s Day, consider one of the following high impact philanthropic gifts. Each enables our communities’ most vulnerable mothers and their children to survive and thrive:

Support New Mothers Through Home Visits

Image Source: Nurse-Family Partnership.

Home visitation by community health workers can play a critical role in breaking down barriers to access prenatal care for mothers in the developing world. For example, in their program called Manoshi, BRAC’s community health workers ensure healthy pregnancies and delivery in the poor areas of urban Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Read an excerpt from this Case Example.)

In the U.S., Nurse-Family Partnership has shown impressive health and development outcomes for vulnerable first-time moms and children. By partnering a trained nurse with a mother during pregnancy until her child’s second birthday, families are empowered to give their children a healthy start to life.

Ensure Access to Tools That Keep Moms Healthy Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Women holding insecticide-treated bednets received during antenatal care in
Madagascar. Image by Alisha Horowitz via Jhpiego

Facilitated mothers groups can supply women with the knowledge and tools to stay healthy during pregnancy. For example, through JHPIEGO‘s supported networks, malaria’s burden is decreased by ensuring that pregnant women have access to prevention measures such as insecticide treated bednets and medications.

Similarly, using a private sector franchise model, groups such as Marie Stopes International (MSI) are enabling families to plan their pregnancies though access to safe, effective contraception. Melinda Gates also discussed the important health and social benefits such access can bring in her TEDxChange talk. Filling the unmet need for contraception access to the more than 200 million women who desire family planning could decrease maternal deaths by 25 percent and neonatal deaths by 18 percent. (See the Family Planning Fact Sheet.)

One last suggestion

Designate your philanthropic gift in honor of your own mother, writing her a note sharing how she inspired your gift. She may never have asked for such recognition. She may say she doesn’t need it. But, if she’s like our mothers, it’s something she richly deserves.

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